It is easy to write a birthday list for a celebrity mountain climber, or a two year old prince, or a woman famous for making me sad.
It’s not as easy to do such a list for your own dad.
When I did a birthday list for Ernest Hemingway, for instance, I wrote down every single Ernest Hemingway-themed thought I had ever had: the thing with the cats, the thing with him being a boozy but capable Old Swine, his fine stable of wives.
The list went up to 13, only.
If I set myself the task of writing down every My Dad-themed thought I have ever had, I would not be able to stop.
I could have a list of all the things you taught me, or a list of every time you have made me hiss with laughter.
I could have a list of every song we both like, or every novel, or every good swim we have had together.
Our most recent high-quality swim was at Vetch’s pier, in May. We went quite far out and stayed in the water for a long time, and you told me a story about Bolivia and Butch Cassidy.
I could have a list of every dinner party, and holiday, and every time you did something boring and horrible so that I could do something nice.
Also a list of every time I should have said thank you.
The first essay I wrote on here was about you. An essay is better than a list – maybe I should have saved it for today.
I also ordered a book on Amazon for you and had it delivered to my house, instead of yours. Why did I do that? No one knows.
I’m sorry about that.
I could have a list of every time I should have said sorry.
And a list of every cup of tea you’ve ever made me, which surely by now must run into the tens of thousands.